Marriott Acquires City Express Hotels in Latin America

Marriott International will soon add a new brand to its portfolio: City Express, based in Mexico, which will becomes Marriott’s 31st hotel brand. 

Let’s take a look at what this means for Marriott’s portfolio, and what we can expect after the deal closes sometime later this year or in early 2023.

Marriott Acquires City Express Brand Portfolio

Hoteles City Express is a chain of budget to midscale hotels strewn across 75 cities in Mexico and three additional countries in Latin America. City Express consists of a total of 152 hotels, which currently operate under the following sub-brands:

  • City Express
  • City Express Plus
  • City Express Suites
  • City Express Junior
  • City Centro

The City Express chain has grown quickly since being founded in 2002. Each brand caters to a slightly different audience, ranging between urban hotels, suburban hotels, and hotels set up for long-term stays.

City Express hotels are meant to fit the popular and affordable midscale segment, while also being modern and efficient.

How each property will be rebranded remains to be seen, but we can expect them to pick up the “by Marriott” moniker soon after the deal closes. After that date, we’d expect all the City Express hotels to be added to Marriott’s website and app, and the properties to be bookable with both cash and Marriott Bonvoy points like most of Marriott’s existing 30 brands.

Acquiring City Express will also make Marriott the largest hotel company in the Caribbean and Latin America region, keeping in mind that Marriott is already the largest hotel company worldwide. 

City Express Aguascalientes Sur

City Express Footprint

Needless to say, this acquisition mostly serves the purpose of expanding Marriott’s presence in the region. City Express will be more of a comfortable place to sleep in ideally-located parts of smaller Mexican metropolises, where Marriott currently has no substantial reach.

City Express has hotels located in the following cities, all of which will be new additions to Marriott’s global footprint:

  • Chiapas
  • Colima
  • Durango
  • Hidalgo
  • Michoacán
  • Tamaulipas
  • Tlaxcala
  • Zacatecas

City Express also has a scattering of hotels in Costa Rica, Colombia, and Chile, although these are destinations where Marriott already has hotels. 

Travellers headed to smaller cities in Mexico with no previous Marriott-branded hotel will now have an opportunity to earn and redeem Marriott Bonvoy points, as well as accrue elite qualifying nights.

City Express Apizaco

A Mattress Running Opportunity?

“Mattress running” is the practice of booking hotels solely for the purpose of accruing nights, in order to reach the next elite status tier.

While not always worthwhile, this practice can be beneficial if you’re only a few nights away from Marriott Platinum Elite status or Titanium Elite status, and the incremental benefits of booking extra hotel nights to reach the next elite status tier would outweigh the cost.

Marriott Bonvoy members looking to mattress-run on cheap paid hotel rates will have among the lowest cash rates amongst all Marriott hotels with City Express.

Of course, you may not be looking to travel to a tiny town in the middle of Mexico just to begin a mattress run, so you’ll be happy to hear that hotel prices in Mexico City are also very attractively priced.

Of course, it’s possible that room rates at City Express hotels might rise slightly following the completion of the deal, though they should still remain quite reasonable if you need a few cheap nights in a pinch.

Conclusion

Marriott has reached an agreement with Hoteles City Express to acquire the City Express brand portfolio, which will make “City Express by Marriott” the 31st brand under the world’s largest hotel chain.

While not a luxury brand by any means, City Express should prove a comfortable place to rest along your travels in Latin America. Furthermore, the upcoming acquisition offers more opportunities to earn and redeem Marriott Bonvoy points in cities that were previously unserved by Marriott.

What’s more, with very affordable cash rates, City Express could also be a suitable brand to book a mattress run in a bid to pick up cheap elite qualifying nights, should you be pursuing a higher level of elite status.

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